Arts & Culture

Interviews and stories about art, culture, music, books, food / dining and sports.

Chris Dave possesses innumerable gifts as a drummer, but chief among them is the ability to make a groove just feel ... right. This isn't as simple or straightforward a feat as it sounds. And it can be a recipe for invisibility, at least among the general listening public.

In his tiny kitchen, chef Thitiwat Tantragarn throws a handful of raw bamboo caterpillars into a hot skillet and sautés them with olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Seconds later, the cream-colored larvae are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Tantragarn adds white wine, then spoons the bugs, brown beady eyes and all, over grilled scallops and Jerusalem artichokes before sending the plate out to the dining room.

There's a brilliant new instrumental project from violinist Andrew Bird. Echolocations: River takes its musical inspiration from landscapes and environments with distinctive acoustics.

Today we have a film of Andrew Bird performing under the Hyperion bridge in Los Angeles's Atwater Village. An earlier Echolocations project was recorded at the Coyote Gulch canyons of Utah in 2015. Andrew wrote us to explain how these compositions take shape.

Bobby Osborne is trying to find his way back to the lakeside home where he first heard "Rocky Top," the song that would define his career as one half of the Osborne Brothers, one of bluegrass' most popular and innovative groups.

President Trump's declaration that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and his order to move the U.S. Embassy brought quick and sharply differing reactions from Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders.

Lawrence Rothman is one of the most interesting artists to come on our radar this year. The Laurel-Canyon-based artist channeled their journey of self-discovery into some incredibly catchy songs on their debut album. "Wolves Still Cry" was fantastic live, and the lyrics are worth a closer listen.

SET LIST

  • "Wolves Still Cry"

Photos: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW.

A chair is just a chair, unless it's designed as a sound-insulated "isolation sphere": a space-age, egg-shaped pod that was created by a French architect in 1971. It's the kind of unique object you can find at this year's Design Miami.

The fair features everything from vintage furniture to contemporary ceramics to handcrafted jewelry — all collectible objects from the 20th and 21st century. Rodman Primak is chief creative officer of the marketplace, where potential buyers can find unique, limited edition pieces and prototypes commissioned by 34 galleries from around the world.

In France today, nothing else matters. Johnny Hallyday is dead.

The French rock star, who died at 74 of lung cancer at his home outside Paris Wednesday, had a career spanning 57 years. He sold more than 100 million albums, but was little known outside his own country. USA Today once called him "the greatest rock star you never heard of."

Retrospectives and tributes have poured in, and France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe paid tribute to Hallyday in Parliament.

Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, always did have good taco game, but would he actually prevail in his mission to eat at a different taco joint every day for a year?

The Room (2003) has been called the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in the movie, and it has since developed a cult following. Around the country, fans flock to midnight screenings.

Actor James Franco also found himself drawn to The Room. In 2014, after reading a nonfiction book about the film's creation (called The Disaster Artist) Franco knew he wanted to turn the movie's backstory story into another film.

Bette Smith grew up in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn: Bedford–Stuyvesant, pre-Mayor Giuliani. Her father was a church choir director who once had to protect his kids by running out of the house waving a two-by-four. He taught Bette to sing. He also taught her that a career in music outside the church was wrong, and it wasn't until after he died that Bette really pursued music. She'll tell the story of coming to that decision, and what she imagines her late parents might think of what's she's doing now.

Despite having visited the Tiny Desk three times, and traveling to the tunnels beneath Fort Adams State Park, Jeff Tweedy has brought only a fraction of his many musical permutations to NPR Music during our first 10 years.

Mark Squires

In 2004, when Matisyahu burst on the scene with his album Shake Off the Dust…Arise, he stood out in more ways than one. Bearded with traditional Hasidic garb and payos (religious sidelocks), he weaved together many genres: beatbox, rap, reggae, and spiritual song.

Chicago-based singer and poet Jamila Woods sat down with Vocalo's Reclaimed Soul host Ayana Contreras to talk about her debut album HEAVN and the spiritual, social and political themes behind it.

"Through my poems and songs, I ask more questions than I try to nail down answers," Woods says. "I think art is a good way to free your mind up and make things more complicated."

The Thistle & Shamrock: Music Migration

Dec 6, 2017

Join host Fiona Ritchie as she uncovers the deep roots across several generations that run under a family tree of songs from the British Isles and Ireland to the Southern Appalachians.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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